The Port Talbot Wheelers 2-up event is usually my first open event of the season, and the first of Team Grumpy’s two regular 2-up events in the season (the other being the Duo Normand, of course). In recent years, the event has been run on a course that is half dual carriageway and half lumpy back roads – actually an excellent test of a 2-up team. This year, the organisers used one of the R25/3 variants, including the descent of Neath bank, a hill riders don’t have to race back up. Consequently it’s a course that delivers consistently fast performances. My view is that it’s not so good as a test of 2-up skills, but it does make a change.
My preparations for the event were somewhat hampered by a 4 day trip to the USA, followed by a mucoid cold I presumably picked up in my travels, so I didn’t really have too much optimism for the event. But at least the cold was pretty mild other than having blocked airways – and who breathes through their nose when racing anyway!
The version of the course started in an industrial estate near Rhigos. While we were ‘warming up’, the forecast rain started. It wasn’t particularly cold though. We set off briskly and joined the main road into a relatively gentle headwind, but enough to make us look forward to the descent! Gerry felt the beginnings of his exercise-induced breathing issue at this point, but I think this eased as we began the descent. In the past, Gerry has had alarming moments on this fast descent, albeit in windier conditions, so he’s often a bit nervous – not today, though.
Once at the bottom, it was a matter of keeping up reasonably frequent changeovers. I think we rode well technically, though an inspection of my Garmin trace indicates our speed tended to fluctuate rather a bit. We did get slowed twice at roundabouts, once in the outbound leg by a car, and then on the return leg by what appeared to be a funfair (!) travelling up the course.
We crossed the line in 56:18, I think giving us 27th place. Full results at the CTT website